Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Art and Death of the Thank You

This is really more of a personal rant than a business post, but it's my blog so, hey, why not.

What happened to thank you notes? Is it just me or are they getting more and more rare, almost nonexistent?

I tend to really like the written or snail mailed thank you. Sometimes I take the effort to hand write a note, other times I use an app service like Postagram to mail a postcard thank you with a photo and personal message. It's rare that I'll write an email or social media thank you, but that does happen as well. Now I'm not saying I'm perfect. Sure there are times I've forgotten or neglected to send a thank you, but I think I get it done more often than not.

I don't expect anyone to be as nuts about thank you notes as me, but there are certain times I do, in no uncertain terms, expect a thank you. Recently I sent gifts for the following occasions and received no acknowledgment; a wedding, a baby shower, and birthday parties in which the gifts were shuttled to another room and opened after the guests left. In all of those cases I took the time and spent the money to choose a gift I thought the recipient would like. Don't I deserve a thank you?

Anyway, I think it's common courtesy to send a thank you of some sort, even if it's a message in my Facebook inbox, and I'm a little annoyed by those who don't make the effort, mostly in the case of the events I listed above. But maybe I'm just an old fuddy-duddy.



ProfeJMarie (Janet Rundquist) said...

I'll bite on this one. :)

I absolutely agree about thank-yous, but not necessarily in the format. I really believe in the sentiment behind the thank you - that it's taking time to show graciousness and appreciation - a return courtesy.

I understand the appreciation of the handwritten notes in the mail... on the other hand, does that prove a person *more* thankful than another? Our rule of thumb in our family: if you open the gift in the presence of the gift-giver, an oral thank you suffices. If not, then *some* form of thank you must be sent, but it can be in the form of an email, a FB message (like you mentioned), or a phone call. I think it's important to show acknowledgement - kindness and courtesy helps keep a society sane, I think. :)

So, obviously I'm agreeing with you on sending thank-yous. For argument's sake, though, a part of me wonders, "is that why I gave the gift, to make sure the other person recognizes ME?" ie: that's the thing I tell myself to stop myself from getting to bent out of shape when I don't receive a thank you. (In fact, though it was a slightly different situation, I was just complaining to my husband this morning about someone not thanking me for my time for answering her questions... the someone was a person I didn't even know, referred by a mutual friend. I took the time to help you, shouldn't I get appreciation? So, clearly, I am not in the selfless line. Hahaha. Rant away!)

Elissa M said...

You are not a fuddy-duddy. I think sending a thank you for a gift received is the very least a person can do. I feel the format of the thank you can vary depending on the circumstances, but they should never be dispensed with altogether.

Recently a new neighbor drove to our house (we live in a very rural area, and our neighbors are not close by) to personally thank us for helping out when they had a brief family emergency. Was his effort necessary? No, of course not; we were happy to help. That's what neighbors are for. Was it appreciated? Most certainly.

I don't think I exaggerate when I say good manners are the foundation of civilization, and saying thank you is the foundation of good manners.

Kate Douglas said...

Thank yous AND RSVPs are important, if only to show proof that a gift (or invitation) was actually received. I recently heard from a relative saying she was looking forward to seeing me at a family wedding, that she understood I wouldn't be going because it was so far, but she was disappointed I hadn't at least sent an RSVP to decline. I never rec'd an invitation and had been planning to attend, but when I didn't hear, just figured that budget had required a smaller guest list.

I send gifts to a lot of people over the holidays--a couple who usually respond haven't. I hate to call to see if the gifts ever arrived, but I'm wondering what the "rules" are for that.

And yes, I always try to send a handwritten note. And I ALWAYS receive one from Jessica! Thank you.

Martha Ramirez said...

Finally! Somebody who understands!:) I love to show my gratitude to others. I'm extremely grateful for those who reach out and go that extra mile. I'm a little addicted to send thank you notes and customized gifts and sometimes I don't receive that thank you. You can always tell whose hearts you've touched and who doesn't have much of a heart. Appreciation is everything. But obviously it's not to everyone. What ever happened to The Golden Rule? Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I feel ya!